State 101 – What state are you in?


By ‘state’, I am not referring to a physical ‘place’, or ‘location’, as in 1 of the 6 states that constitutes this beautiful country called Australia. Rather, I am referring to your state of mind; your mental state – or that within you which goes a long way to determining how you show up in your day-to-day relating – be that at work, home, play, etc.State1

Your state (of mind) is intricately connected with your body, and your emotions – which moves around your body through neurological pathways, including your five sensory modes of sight, sound, feeling, smell and taste. If you pay attention to your thinking, even now as read this sentence, you can feel your emotions connected to your thoughts.  As you experience the world, you can actually feel the impact of your emotions, like an energy-force within yourself; the increase in the pace of your energyheartbeat, the speed of your breathing, the rise in blood pressure, as you make decisions, when relating with others, and importantly, as you relate with You(r)self. These emotions determine what state You are in…

Researchers in the field of emotion management, including Jordan and Lindabaum (2015), suggest that we deal with “a myriad of emotions” on a moment-to-moment basis. But what are they? E-motions are somatic energies, or what Hall (1995) terms as energies-in motion, that are ephemeral, fluid, temporary and changing in nature, such that one emotion state inevitably leads to, and feeds into, other emotion states inhabiting your mind and lodged in your body. If not managed appropriately, states can inhibit your experiencing. Therefore, how you manage your emotion states, positively, or negatively, is really important for ensuring you are able to run your own mind, rather than your mind running you. Richard Bandler, a leading neuroscientist, would often ask his students the question: “Who’s driving your car? If it’s not you, then someone else is!” Referred to as ‘state-management’, driving your car is an ongoing intra-personal challenge that you are unable to run away from – given you are constantly moving in and out of different emotion states – all the time. Positively navigating these states constitutes the core of resilience.

Given the mind-body-emotion system that you are then, your state of mind has everything to do with how you experience the world. Indeed, how you experience the world drives your state of mind, and that state then drives your subsequent experiencing of reality determining, as it were, how you ‘see’ (your) reality. How you see reality, akin to looking through a pair of glasses, is your world. Your world of experience. Therefore, the quality of your experiencing, determines the quality of your state – almost like a self-fulling prophecy…

Ever woken up and looked out of the window on a rainy Monday morning, and thought to yourself “what a sad day!”. Did you notice as you said that, that you began to ‘feel’ sad inside? The arising mindset of sadness that you have taken on, often at a subconscious and subliminal level – and as such outside of your conscious awareness, then displays itself during your interactions in 2 main ways – firstly with self (as in feeling low in mood, or not totally yourself, etc) and secondly, with others – who interestingly feel your emotion states, energetically. They may not be able to explain what is happening as they interact with you, save noticing some difficulty building rapport during your day-to-day relating. They may conclude that this is your ‘personality’. Indeed, where this mindset evolves and becomes your default mental state, you too may assume the belief that feeling low in mood, or not being the happiest you can be, is just the way you are.

Is it?

Conversely, your state of mind may likely be different where you had woken up, looked out of the window, and given the current draught experienced across many parts of Australia, said to yourself; “how fantastic, it’s raining!”. The mindset of celebration, of seeing the positive in a visually, gloomy ‘negative’ situation (as in the rainy day) then characterises your subsequent intra and inter-personal relating. A positive and open mindset becomes the state of mind that you operate from in your day to day relating. Might this be your ‘personality’?

The different ‘states’ of mind played out in the two scenarios suggest 2 fundamental points:

  1. Your state of mind determines your experiencing, and your experiencing determines your state of mind – an ongoing cyclical process, akin to Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole. This paints a picture of just how deep mindsets can be!
  2. You choose your state of mind – whether you’re aware of it or not. It’s always your choice – at a subliminal level…

Your personality is what you make it. Just as you choose one action over another in your moment-to-moment decision-making (as in choosing to speak, to drive, to walk, to sit rather than stand, to not wear a green tie rather than a red one, to buy a black pair of shoes rather than a brown one, etc), so too do you have the ability to choose one emotion over another. Indeed, you can choose an emotion that best serves you – and install it within yourself for use, as and when you choose to – ensuring you truly show up as your best YOU.

How?how

By a simple technique called swapping. You have, what is like a library consisting of shelves of positive or resourceful emotion states based on imagined or previous experiences, stored like mental books in your neurology. Specifically, if you use the imaginative and memory functions of your mind, you are able to dig into yourself and select an emotion or state from your library, really visualise it, and use to swap or replace an existing negative or unresourceful state. The key is repetition, and more repetition, and more repetition again, until it becomes ‘the new normal’, and is ‘installed’, as it were, in your physiology (body).

Tip:

  • When you feel sad or low in mood, immediately, and intentionally swap that feeling with a positive thought, something that made you happy in the past, or something joyful that is to occur, or simply imagine a scenario where you’re laughing at the feeling itself.
  • Focus on it for a minute or so, and bring it into your conscious awareness, fully.
  • As you focus, notice the difference in how you begin to feel about the former sad feeling. Feel its intensity lessening, reducing, no longer featuring…
  • Repeat the process over and over for a period of time. Notice the growing ease with which you can access and move into a chosen positive state.

Remember; your emotions are a tremendous source of intelligence. If you learn how to use them, they are a great resource for managing your states, ensuring you show up as your best, as and when you choose…

Happy Journeying…

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